It’s a daunting task, I won’t lie. To make it easier, here are 6 questions that will help you decide.
1. What are your options?
Edinburgh offers everything from university and private student halls to shared flats and single-person houses. Take the time to understand how each accommodation type works. Also, make notes of their pros and cons.
2. What do you want?
This is where you make a list of the features you want your future home to have. Prioritise and know what’s important to you; for example, having my own space and living on my own was essential, which meant I would never go for a 2-bed flat. Somebody else might be moving in with a friend so a 2-bed might be the perfect choice for them.
3. What’s your budget?
The simplest and most central of questions. Try to plan ahead and determine how much money you can spend on accommodation. Then reconcile your preferences (Question 2) with an affordable price.
4. Do you have friends/family/third cousins of an old classmate who live in Edinburgh?
People who live in the city are valuable sources of information. They already know a lot about preferable areas to live, tips on signing a contract or paying the rent, and whatever else comes up. Don’t be afraid to talk to them; they’re usually happy to help.
5. How about a pre-arrival trip?
The most useful piece of advice I got was that you should check the place out for yourself first. That’s especially true if renting in the private sector. Meet the owners face-to-face, make sure everything listed online is accurate, etc. It’s worth taking a little pre-arrival trip to visit halls or flats. If you don’t have the money to come early, you can still rent a room in a B&B or hostel for your first few days. This will give you the chance to check out likely accommodation candidates before making your final decision.
6. (I’m not even going to ask…well, okay) Do you have Internet access?
If none of the options above works for you, you can still do all your research online. Just make sure to verify the authenticity of private landlords before signing a contract or sending any money. University accommodation is obviously a much safer option. Plus, it often lets you pay in more instalments than private accommodation.
Extra Tip: The university and student association have multiple resources on accommodation, so it’s the best place to start.